HOPE OF ESCAPE

But anyway, in three days they put me out in the kitchen. In other words, when we go to the kitchen, six of us go for a six weeks' period. And this particular time they put me out in the kitchen with five other little Nuns. What am I there for? I'm doing the kitchen work. I'm going to do all the cooking that's done out there, and take care of the work in the kitchen.

And so when I went out in the kitchen, we have a long table back here. And it's a work table. And our vegetables will be prepared for the soup. And that's what we were doing - all six of us.

And something happened.

Our kitchen is a very large room. And a very long room. Not as wide as it is long. And over at one end of it, you'll find over here the stair steps leading - about four - leading down into the landing right there. Over there is a big heavy outside door. But here, there's a landing. Our garbage cans sit there. And right here is a stairway - cement one - leading down one storey under the ground. Now, I'm up on first floor in this kitchen.

Alright, as I'm in there, and we're there working, something happened. Somebody touched a garbage can. You know, all my Convent life we are taught never to break silence. We don't dare to make noises in the Convent. We are punished for them. And when something touched the garbage can, that's a noise. And who in the world... six of us, and we're all together... who's touching the garbage can?

I reeled around, and they reeled around. And we saw a man.

And, you know, that man was picking up the full can, leaving an empty one. I've never seen that before! I've been in that Convent for years in the kitchen, but I never saw anything like that happen.

I believe God had His hands on me. With all my heart I believe it.

And you say, "What happened?"

Well, we turned around quickly because, to us, it's a mortal sin to look upon a man other than a Roman Catholic priest. Now, I mean, we turned around quick and went to our work.

But, you know, I thought, "If that man comes back again to get another full can, I'm going to give him a note and I'm going to ask him if I can run out with him."

But, I didn't do that. But, you know what I did? When we run out of something in the kitchen there's a pencil hanging up there on a chain. And, bless your heart, I have to, or whoever it is runs out, you have to write it on a tab. And of course I stole a piece of paper off of a sack. And I thought, "I'll carry that little piece of paper in my skirt pocket. And every time I can get a'hold of that pencil, I'm going to write a word or two on the note. And that's what I did. It took quite a while to do it.

But, oh, I watched that garbage can. Every time I could take the garbage down there I did it. And, you know, when it was just about full, and I thought, "The next evening it'll be full when we put all the garbage in it." And so that afternoon, I broke my Crucifix, and I laid it up on a shelf. And I had a hard time doing it, because they're watching me. But I did it. And I laid it up on the shelf. And I did that to have a way to get back to that room, of course.

And when our dinner work is over, our supper dishes, everybody has to go out at the same time. And we march by the Mother Superior. And, you know, when I march by I stopped and said, "Please, may I speak to you?"

And I did. And I said, "Mother Superior, I broke my crucifix and I left it in the kitchen. May I go for it?"

And, of course, no Nun goes without her crucifix. And she said, "How did you break it?"

I lied to her. Everything she asked me, I lied to her. You say, "Why did you lie?" She lies to us. And we're all sinners, so we all lie. And it doesn't make any difference in there.

And so we lied. And I lied to her. And then finally she said, "You go get the crucifix and come right back."

And that's all I wanted anyway. I have to have a reason. You can't go back into the kitchen after you left it.

And so I didn't go for the crucifix. But she thought I did, and run for this tin can. Why? That night when I put my garbage in there, I put a note right on top of that garbage and left the lid off, which I was not supposed to do.

And, you know, I said on the note to the garbage man, "If you get this, won't you please help me out? Won't you do something to help the little Nuns out?"

I told him about those nineteen cells down there, and those nineteen Nuns in them. I told him about some of the babies that had been killed. I told him some other little Nuns that are locked up in the dungeons and they're bound with chains. I told him a 'plenty. And I said, "Won't you help us? And if you will, please leave a note under the empty can."

That's what I went back for. And when I lifted up the can and found a note, you don't know how I felt. I froze to the floor. I was so scared I didn't know what to do.

I picked that piece of paper up and I read. And this is what that man said: "I'm leaving that door unlocked, and I'll leave the big iron gate unlocked. You come out."

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